UnitedHealth admits to big loss of PacifiCare patients

UnitedHealth Group's current troubles apparently go beyond ongoing investigations into stock option grant-backdating. At an investor conference this week, UnitedHealth executives said that they're facing some big problems in integrating its PacifiCare unit, which it acquired December 2006 for $8.1 billion in stock and cash.

UHG officials said that PacifiCare lost 315,000 customers this year, a problem which they attributed to customer service problems. They also admitted that both doctors and customers were frustrated by its efforts to integrate PacifiCare into its overall operations. To address these issues, UHG execs said that they're going to make some major changes, including establishing systems to reimburse doctors more promptly, offering patients and doctors real-time information on claims payment and establishing incentives for better customer service.

To find out more about UHG's problems and proposed solutions:
- read this Business Courier of Cincinnati piece

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